(1) Gelfand,B (2739) - Howell,D (2616) [A29]
4th NH Chess Tournament Amsterdam NED (6), 18.08.2010
[Boris Gelfand]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Be6 10.d3 f6 11.Ne4
This is the opening from the 11th game of the World Championship match between Anand and Topalov this May.


My opponent tried to improve on Topalov's play with this move, however I think it is premature as it weakens his pawns.

12.Nc5 Bxc5 13.bxc5
Now the b7 pawn becomes vulnerable. With the pawn still on a7, he would have the option of playing b6.


Black's plan is to play Bd5 and take control of the diagonal so I played

14.d4! e4
[Black could take with 14...exd4 15.Nxd4 Nxc5 but this would be very dangerous because after 16.Nxe6 Nxe6 17.Qb3 I have fantastic compensation for the pawn with the two bishops and the open position. I would play Be3 followed by Rfd1 and Rac1. A kind of Catalan, but a very good kind.]

He now played

but after [He doesn't have the time to play 15...f5? because of 16.d5 ]

I take control because the bishop cannot hold its position as the knight will kick it off.

16...Qe8 17.Bf4
is a good intermediary move since he must protect it with

17...Rc8 18.Rb1
It is now difficult for him to protect the position from all sides.

I was happy to have provoked this because it weakens the king which will be telling in the long run. [If he had played 18...b6 instead, I would have 19.cxb6 Nxb6 20.Bxc7 winning a pawn.; or 18...Ne7 19.Ne3 g5 20.Bd6! cxd6 21.cxd6 Black's position collapses.]

19.Bd2 b6 20.Qa4 Qe6 21.Bh3
[Another move was 21.Ne3 Ne7 to prevent Bh3 as in the game. (21...bxc5? isn't possible because of 22.dxc5 Nxc5 23.Qb5 ) 22.Rfc1 and it is very difficult for Black to withstand all this pressure.]


The point behind 21.Bh3.

22...Qxh3 23.Nxd5
This exchanges off his strong bishop but more importantly it frees up the option of advancing d5.

23...Qe6 24.Ne3 Ne7 25.Rfd1 Rfd8 26.Rbc1 Nf8
[26...Nd5 is unplayable due to 27.Qb3 Nf8 28.cxb6 and White wins a pawn.]

27.cxb6 cxb6 28.Rxc8
The problem is that whichever piece he takes with on c8 is one that helped control the d5 square.

28...Rxc8 29.Qb5
A key move preparing d5.


The loss of a pawn with

is protected by the tactic

31.Bxa5 bxa5
[If 31...Nc7 then 32.Qxb6 ]

32.Rxd5 Rxd5 33.Nxd5
Black's position has so many weaknesses, I believe that a pawn loss is probably forced.

33...a4 34.Ne3
A nice move. It will join the attack now.

34...Qd7 35.Qb4 Qe8 36.Nf5 Kg8 37.Qb7 Qd7 38.Qxe4 Ne6 39.Qc4 Kf8 40.Ne3 Qe7
This blunders a pawn, but even without this the position was absolutely won.

41.Qxa4 1-0